'She kept looking at me and
frequently gasped, "I'm very ill."'
'ANOTHER YEAR BEGUN,' the Queen's first diary entry for 1901 recorded, '& I am feeling so weak and unwell that I enter upon it sadly.' A fortnight later her journal came to a close. The day after the last entry was written she saw Field-Marshal Lord Roberts, Wolseley's successor as Commander-in-Chief, and she talked to him about the war in South Africa which, like the strain of her visit to Ireland the previous year, had, so she believed, been largely responsible for her present ill health. She had conferred the Order of the Garter on Lord Roberts the week before and he had then observed how frail and ill she looked. On this later occasion she spoke to him for an hour; but she was far from as incisive as she usually was. The day before Reid had described her as being 'rather childish and apathetic. On 16 January he reported:
The Queen had rather a disturbed night, and was very drowsy all forenoon, and disinclined to get up, although she kept saying in a semi-confused way that she must get up. I saw her asleep in bed in the forenoon, as I was rather anxious about her, and the maids said she was too drowsy to notice me. This was the first time I had ever seen the Queen when she was in bed. She was lying on her right side huddled up and I was struck by how small she appeared . . . She did not get up till 6 p.m. when she had a dress loosely fastened round her and was wheeled into the sitting-room . . . At 7.30 1 saw her and she was dazed, confused and her speech was affected. 1
The next day Reid concluded that the Queen had had a slight stroke. On Saturday 19 January it was publicly announced that Her Majesty